The number of high net worth individuals in the top ten U.S. metropolitan areas jumped 17.5% in 2009, the highest growth rate in the last four years, according to the Capgemini 2010 U.S. Metro Wealth Index.

And New York, Houston, Washington DC and San Jose all had more high net worth individuals-those with investable assets of $1 million or more-in 2009 than they did in 2007 before the financial meltdown hit.

This is good news for advisors who are looking to recruit new clients and identify new growth opportunities.

“In today’s volatile market, the Metro Wealth Index serves as a resource for advisers and wealth management firms who are looking to understand the trends affecting high net worth individuals in specific  U.S. markets,” said Edward R. Merchant, Solutions Leader, Capital Markets, for Capgemini Financial Services, in a press release. “Through Capgemini’s wealth management expertise and sizing capabilities, we allow firms to better understand the opportunities that exist in different regions and help shape their strategy accordingly.”

New York City continued to top the index, with 18.7% more high net worth individuals than it had in 2008. Houston had the strongest growth rate in millionaires.California had three of the ten largest millionaire populations, including Los Angeles (ranked two), San Francisco (ranked five) and San Jose (ranked ten). 

Meanwhile, Philadelphia moved up to number six in the ranking for 2009, leaving Boston at number seven. Philadelphia was among the least impacted cities in terms of unemployment, decline in real estate prices and per capita income, according to Capgemini. Houston moved up to number nine, pushing San Jose down to number ten.